Kenya uses latest security technologies for printing ID cards

Electronic cards that record a person's fingerprints and retina image are proving successful in a number of African countries in cleaning up elections. Photo : REUTERS / News Trust

NEWSROOM (ADV) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday kicked off biometric registration of citizens to improve government planning, service delivery and security.

Kenyatta said the National Integrated Identification Management System (NIIMS) dubbed Huduma Namba will provide a single source of personal information of all Kenyans and registered foreigners.

Kenyatta said NIIMS aims to establish and maintain a master digital national population register that will serve as the only single source of identification for everybody resident in Kenya.

“It will integrate personal and functional data that is scattered in many government agencies into one single identity,” said the president during the launch in Machakos county, eastern Kenya, adding that the number will be used at all stages of one’s life from birth to death,”

The new system is aimed at amalgamating all government-issued documents which include identity cards (IDs), National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), birth and death certificates or the Personal Identification Number (PIN) among others to a central source.

The registration exercise that will last for 45 days is aimed at modernizing the national registry system at a cost of 6 billion shillings (60 million U.S. dollars).

Kenyatta said the NIIMS exercise will not only transform civil registration and data management in the country but also tame corruption and fast-track the implementation of the development plan.

“Huduma Namba will reduce delays and corruption in the delivery of services such as cash transfers for elderly persons and vulnerable children, issuance of passports and border control,” said the president.

Kenya now joins other developed nations such as the U.S., Europe, United Arabs Emirates, India and Australia which have successfully used integrated data systems to manage their citizens’ information.

The president said the NIIMS registration exercise will be able to verify the actual number of government employees including civil servants that include teachers and other cadres.

He said there are several reasons why the government is making the extraordinary effort to undertake the biometric registration for everybody living in Kenya.

“The need for accurate data as a key enabler for national planning, issuance of birth and death certificates and associated rights of nationality, schooling, passport and property ownership are all valid reasons for the registration,” he said.

Kenyatta said biometric identification and registration of farmers will facilitate fairer allocation of subsidized farm inputs including seeds and fertilizers.

“It will also improve accountability and transparency in the management of National Health Insurance Fund and inform planning, investment and allocation of affordable housing units,” he said.

The president said the NIIMS exercise will also facilitate and monitor capitation in schools adding that Kenyans will no longer be required to carry multiple IDs and, pensioners and widows will receive their dues with much ease.

Besides reducing transaction costs for Kenyans, said the president, the new system will significantly reduce cases of identity theft and make financial and property transactions more secure.

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